|Unaccounted for passengers of the "Glory Time" feared dead|
Guardian Senior Reporter
Published: Jun 12, 2012
The 10 passengers who remain unaccounted for and who were onboard the “Glory Time” boating disaster in Abaco Sunday night are feared dead, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage revealed in the House of Assembly this afternoon.
Nottage said it’s believed that those people drowned along with 11 others that were pulled from the ocean yesterday afternoon.
Twenty-eight passengers were reportedly onboard the vessel that police believe was involved in an illegal smuggling operation.
Seven people reportedly survived.
Nottage added that officials believe that all passengers on board were of Haitian descent.
He also reported that eight people who were “seen in the area of Cooper’s Town and are believed to be associated with the sunken vessel” have been arrested for questioning in connection with this incident.
Police have reported that the vessel left Farmer’s Hill near treasure Cay, North Abaco en route to South Florida around 5 p.m. Sunday.
Nottage said one of the survivors, a man of Bahamian-Haitian descent, said he boarded the boat because “his mother insisted that he go to the United States aboard the vessel”. “The gentlemen further stated that he believed each person paid a total of $5,000 a head for the journey,” Nottage said. “He said the vessel was outfitted with a 250-horsepower engine and a 200-horsepower engine.”
The vessel started experiencing engine trouble around 8 p.m. in the vicinity of Crown Haven, North Abaco, Nottage said.
The young man told police one of the boat’s engines kept cutting off, which slowed the vessel down.
Nottage said the survivor also told authorities that there were four large drums of fuel and oil onboard the vessel.
“He reported that the seas were very rough and the vessel began to take on water,” said Nottage. “The vessel eventually capsized and everyone began to scramble to save their lives. He reported that he did his best to save other persons, but the sea was too rough, so he had to save his own life.”
Nottage said the young man reported that nine children, five young women and 14 men were on board.
He said the young man further recalled seeing six others who survived the ordeal. However, once on land, those six persons disappeared, Nottage said the man told police.
Nottage said that a man from Crown Haven went out to the ship and recovered 11 bodies.
He said the recovered bodies were transported to the morgue in New Providence.
Nottage extended condolences on behalf of the government to the families.
“I trust that this unfortunate incident will further buttress the resolve of all right thinking persons to bring to an end the smuggling of persons to and through our waters,” Nottage said.